Only Sleeping?

Anyone who considered John Lennon lazy didn’t know John well. John “worked smart, not hard,” but he worked without ceasing. Even while piled up in bed with his many pillows and guitar, John was never indolent. He was composing songs, listening to the telly for ideas, reading and scribbling notes on a sheet of paper — discovering concepts that he would later put to use.

 

His Aunt Mimi had taught the boy to create: to “Do something productive, John!” (whether that “something” was writing, composing, meditating, reading, listening, or absorbing). And the place where John was most creative was in his room. In his early Hamburg days, John wrote about this topic in There’s A Place. He sang:

 

“There’s a place, where I can go,

when I feel low, when I feel blue…

and it’s my mind…”

 

So where did he retreat to live inside the mind, to be inspired? Well, for John, that place where dreams could translate into beauty was always found in bed. Even as a little boy, John sat on his bedspread above the Mendips’ glassed-in porch and cut out dancing paper skeletons, illustrated his “Sport and Speed” serial stories, and sadly, sang himself to sleep. Bed was his retreat, the place where he could imagine.

 

So, in 1966, when he penned “I’m Only Sleeping” for Revolver, John created not a bored and listless throw-away number but a powerful and ironic song. The irony falls upon the word, “ONLY.” John cheekily saying to us, “I’m only writing a great poem.” “I’m only building something magical.” “I’m only composing.”

 

What Lennon is doing in his room – in his bed – is bigger than “running everywhere at such a speed.” He’s chosen the higher road; he’s chosen to stop, breathe, think, and create. And wonderfully, John’s letting you and me into his half-awake, half-asleep realm: The Land of Incredible Ideas.

 

For the first time in a long time, John turned to “our kid,” to his little brother (as it were) George, to help him bring this dream realm to life. In EMI Studio 2, John and George began the song’s recording, softly playing acoustic guitars in the key of E minor. They performed a bit faster than John wanted the song to be recorded, making it possible for George Martin to slow and mellow the sound, post-recording. (1)

 

But that wasn’t all…George Harrison had something special up his sleeve. He announced that he had composed a lead melody line intended intentionally to be played backward. More specifically, Harrison composed this line so that the tape could be run backwards and then and then only, the tune that George wanted to hear would emerge. (2)

 

But there’s more: Not only did Harrison play this line once on his guitar, but George played it again using his Gibson SG run through a fuzz box – varying the lines very slightly so that when they were played together they produced a blurry, ethereal sound. Dreamlike, unreal.

 

So if we’re being totally honest here, “I’m Only Sleeping” isn’t just a John Lennon creation, it’s a Lennon/Harrison composition…a superb collaboration that well exceeds their early endeavor, “Cry for a Shadow.”

 

For those out there who still see this complex song as a nod to the escape world of sleep, you’re also right! In 1966, John was suffering from what today we would diagnose as “clinical depression.” He had all the symptoms. He had gained weight; he was lashing out at Cynthia, the other Beatles, and the EMI staff. He was bored with everything and recklessly displeased with everything. John seemed to have lost interest in the world around him. Therefore, he retreated more and more often into the altered world of drugs and the magical, shadow world of sleep.  On a literal level, that explanation of his mood does exist in this song.

 

But “I’m Only Sleeping” is about so very much more. The key to its depth and meaning can be found in the lyrics.  In “Tomorrow Never Knows,” when John is singing about merely escaping reality, he “turns off his mind, relaxes, and floats downstream.” But in “I’m Only Sleeping,” he intentionally says,

 

“When I’m in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float up stream…”

 

Float up stream? Notice here that John’s fully-engaged and actually moving against the current. He’s willing himself to progress, to achieve, to be inspired…and to turn inspiration into music. Surely, that’s not escape, is it? No, this is something else.

 

“I’m Only Sleeping” mattered to John. He was very particular about the way he wanted it to be recorded. When he heard the initial playback of the song, John asked that Paul be taken off the vibraphone. Instead, John wanted Paul returned to his Hofner bass, to render that mellow, soft, wistful quality that you hear between the lines. John wanted to “make it dreamier and more mystical sounding.” (3) Paul was even instructed to yawn around Minute Two.

 

What John was trying to recreate was “the place” where he could go when he was low, when he was blue. He was, uncharacteristically, inviting us in. John Lennon was admitting us into his inner sanctum. That was and still is quite a privilege.

 

But instead of being honored, many music critics and fans criticized the song and the singer. They pointed fingers at him and called him slothful.

 

“No good deed goes unpunished,” John often smirked. Then, he retreated to bed, to the kingdom of imagination. And glaring, he closed the door.


1. Guesdon, Jean-Michel and Margotin, Phlippe, All The Songs, 328 Rodriguez, Robert. Revolver: How The Beatles Re-Imagined Rock’n’Roll, 101. The voice was over-dubbed and sped up while the rhythm track was slowed down.

2. Emerick, Geoff. Here, There, and Everywhere, 124 and conversation with Geoff Emerick, May 2016. Emerick is very clear about the fact that George really struggled to record this bit for the song making the recording session “one hard day’s night.”

3. Guesdon, Jean-Michel and Margotin, Phlippe, All The Songs, 328 and Rodriguez, Robert. Revolver: How The Beatles Re-Imagined Rock’n’Roll, 130. Rodriguez’s work is a “not to be missed” book on Revolver.


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

 

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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All The Lonely People

Revolver: It was a serious LP about solemn issues, and no song expressed the theme of this album better than “Eleanor Rigby.”

 

Ah, look at all the lonely people!

 

That formal “Greek chorus” opening the song boldly announced to us all the “grand motif” of the songs that would follow (and repeated the theme of “Taxman,” which had just preceded it). “Ah, look at all the lonely people!” It was Revolver’s seven-word synopsis, in all its intricacy and creative glory.

 

So why is “Eleanor Rigby” not the opening song on the LP, then? Why is it placed as the second track on the record?

 

For the listener, “Taxman” is the equivalent of a novel’s “hook,” that exciting chapter that draws the reader into the book at large.  But then, in Chapter Two – in “Eleanor Rigby” – the reader settles into the narrative and begins the book in earnest. He or she takes a breath, sits back, and listens…begins to pay attention and absorb the theme of what is to come.

 

“Taxman” immediately grabs our attention, but in “Eleanor Rigby” (to the moving, poignant sound of a string octet [1]), we are given a quiet moment to stop, think, and preview every single issue to follow on this album: isolation, loneliness, love desired, love denied, and finally, death. In the storied lives of Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie, we get a glimpse of all this is to come: the irreparable heartbreak in “For No One,” the aching need and hunger in the seemingly jaunty “Got to Get You Into My Life [2],” the anger in “And Your Bird Can Sing,” and even the deep depression of “She Said She Said.” It’s all there.

 

For The Beatles, this song couldn’t have come at a better time. A fissure was on its way to becoming a cleft (bass and treble), and the cleft would eventually become a split. But right now, it was only a fissure. Barely there, and yet, still a problem. But magically, this lovely song about isolation and loneliness, for a time, bridged that fragile gap and brought The Beatles close together again. If only for a short time.

 

They met at John’s Kenwood and began tackling “Eleanor Rigby” as a team. Paul had already developed the basic melody, but many of the lyrics still eluded him. The central character (eventually Eleanor) had inadequately evolved from “Ola Na Tungee” to “Miss Daisy Hawkins” without Paul’s feeling that this was right [3]. And similarly, he was searching for a story about the parish priest. And so, he left London behind and went out into the night, in search of a little help from his friends.

 

According to Pete Shotton, when Paul arrived at John’s “Kenwood,” John, George, Ringo, and Pete were all there [4]. John, bored with the telly, suggested they all go up to his recording studio “’n play a bit of music [5].” And that is when Paul offered up “this little tune here [that] keeps poppin’ into me head, but I haven’t got very far with it [6].” And so the lads listened…and began to offer suggestions.

 

Pete pointed out that the fans would “think that’s your poor old dad” in the song “left all alone in Liverpool to darn his own socks [7].” And alarmed, Paul quickly agreed: they needed a new name for the lonely cleric. So Pete, thumbing through a phone book, began to call out Mc-names to the gathered group. “McVicar?” he shouted. Hilarious…and so, not appropriate for the song’s disposition. “McKenzie?” Right. It fit the melody’s patter, and besides, they’d once known that Northwich Memorial Hall compere, Tommy McKenzie. “Good man – Tommy!” one of them said. “Yeah, right, give the lad a nod!”

 

So Father McKenzie it was…a holy man wholly alone, solitary, and brooding. But doing what exactly? “Darnin’ his socks in the night,” Ringo suggested. “Yeah, right!” “That!” And it was adopted on the spot.

 

“Writin’ sermons that no one will hear,” John claimed to have added later, in a room alone with Paul [8]. And that, too, became part of the song.

 

It was George, however, who suggested the most memorable line of all: “Ah, look at all the lonely people [9].” A simple phrase. Perfect. It spoke eloquently of solitary Eleanor, unloved and unlovely, picking up not her bouquet, but fallen rice littering an empty church where a wedding had been. It captured the spirit of the devoted, solitary man of God whose entire life’s work had (alas) saved no one. It was the quintessential line of hopelessness that hovered over this beautiful song of longing.

 

The Beatles: each one of them added something. (Even Pete, who’d once been a QuarryMan and their mate in the Jacaranda [10]). For several hours, the lads worked together, standing close – shoulder to shoulder, as it were – and in that small bit of time, the fissure closed.

 

In days to come, Paul would record the song alone, with John and George only brought in to sing harmony. No other contribution needed.

 

In years to come, they would argue about who had contributed what that seminal night.

 

Paul would say he had most of the song written before he even visited Kenwood. John would say, “Of course there isn’t a line of theirs [Ringo’s, George’s and Pete’s] in the song because I finally went off into a room with Paul, and we finished the song [11].” Pete would continue to insist that McKenzie was entirely his, but others would deny it vehemently. The Beatles would forget the night they came together as the cleft widened to a split, and they would go their separate ways.

 

In the summer of 1966, The Beatles lived in a dream, but it wasn’t always a pleasant one. And that night, when they all said, “T’rah” and motored away, John stood at the window, wearing a face that seemed content, yet was anything but. Dousing the light and trudging upstairs did he hum, “All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”

 

It’s possible that he did. And the fissure ran.


1. Rodriguez, Robert. Revolver: How The Beatles Re-Imagined Rock’n’Roll, 132.

2. Of course, Paul famously stated that “Got to Get You Into My Life” was a sly reference to his new fascination with marijuana, but like all Beatles’ songs, “there’s more here than meets the eye.” We’ll discuss the complex levels of meaning in this song soon!

3. Guesdon, Jean-Michel and Phillipe Margotin, All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release, 326.

4. Shotton, Pete, John Lennon: In My Life, 123. Note that Guesdon and Margotin state the Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall were also there. Pete does not include them in his account of the evening.

5. Shotton, 123.

6. Shotton, 123.

7. Shotton, 123 and Rodriguez, 82. Pete says that he was the one consulting the phone book. Rodriguez tells us that Paul was the one consulting the phone book. In any event, a phone book was consulted and the group conferred on last names.

8. Guesdon, Jean-Michel and Phillipe Margotin, All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release, 326. This information was gleaned from David Sheff’s Playboy Interviews with John and Yoko.

9. Shotton, 123.

10. Pete’s contribution might have been quite significant indeed. We are told in Rodriguez’s book that “It was Shotton that came up with the key development of having these two lonely people cross paths, only in death.” (p. 82)

11. Sheff, The Playboy Interviews.


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

 

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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‘Cause They Were Taxed, Man…

This is the first of 14 blogs discussing the songs on the Revolver LP. We invite you to add to this introductory information by posting your own facts about the song. We’d also love to hear from you concerning your opinions about the lyrics, music, and background of “Taxman.” Comment away!

 

1,2,3,4…and there it was: the familiar count-in. The comforting sound that had begun the Please Please Me LP. Except that it wasn’t…familiar, that is. Something was amiss.

 

This count-in was slightly disconnected, an appendage to the song, not an organic part of it. The timing was somewhat different; the transition, rough. And knowing that The Beatles did nothing unintentionally, (even when they sang lyrics erroneously, they often left the odd overlaps in the song on purpose, creating a human, “we’re infallible, too” atmosphere), we knew immediately that this disjointed intro held significance. It housed meaning.

 

The old, accustomed “count in” to the jangling rock’n’roll songs that had set “the teacups to rattling” (1) was gone. This count-in device heralded something new, something technically different, something seemingly same but dramatically innovative. All the customary pieces were there, but they’d been stitched together differently. Rearranged. And from the initial count-in, we knew that.

 

And that voice! It was…George! George who had always been permitted one (or lavishly, two) songs per LP. George, who had never opened a Beatles album before. George, and not Leader John, whose gravelly (and gorgeous) rock voice had welcomed us to With The Beatles, Beatles for Sale, and A Hard Day’s Night. And if not John, then it had always been Paul ushering in the 14 elegant servings laid upon the table by The Fab Four. Never, ever, ever had an LP been kicked off by George. Even Harrison’s most devoted fans were puzzled.

 

Nothing about “Taxman” was business as usual. Even the subject matter.

 

We were to discover, over the course of the next hour, that Revolver was revolutionary, a serious LP about serious topics: loneliness, loss, death, tragedy, and yes, even taxes. No silly love songs, these. Revolver sprang from the fertile landscape of upheaval: John’s failing marriage and the backlash of his “Jesus” comments, Paul’s ongoing struggles with Jane Asher, George’s religious awakening, the lads’ disenchantment with fame, and the life-altering inclusion of drugs into their experience. Oh, the times they were a-changin,’ and no album revealed those vast changes more graphically than Revolver. Indeed, the records’ first seven words swept the listener into the grim, beleaguered world of The Beatles.

 

“Let me tell you how it will be…” This was the phrase that John, Paul, George, and Ringo had grown accustomed to hearing…from Brian Epstein, Brian Sommerville, George Martin, Walter Shenson, Dick Lester, Dick James, and at times, even their own Neil Aspinall. John had heard the acrimonious phrase when he’d married Cynthia and was ordered to keep her cloistered and quiet. George heard it when he’d refused to go on the 1964 World Tour without Ringo. And lately, they’d all heard it as they’d vehemently protested the need to go out “on the road” while Brian had just as adamantly demanded they go right on touring. They were told “how it would be.” And, no one –- it seemed –- listened to The Beatles, most especially Britain’s tax man, who greedily gobbled up 95 percent of their hard-won earnings.

 

As strongly as George protested the unfair loss of his back-breakingly accrued income in the bitter lyrics of “Taxman,” on a grander scale, he was also protesting the group’s loss of autonomy. The Beatles felt that they had no voice, no say in anything. And though “Taxman” is, without a doubt, a strong Harrison offering, all of The Beatles played a part in making this song work. They all firmly believed in the sentiment this song was expressing. Thus “Taxman” became a rare collaboration, a one-for-all and all-for-one group effort.

 

John assisted George with the lyrics, suggesting that the background chorus sing, “Ahhhh, Mr. Wilson! Ahhh, Mr. Heath!” instead of the original words: “Anybody got a bit of money?” (2) Twanging that chorus to the “Batman” theme sound (3), John and George drove their meaning straight home: “We’ve been reduced to cartoon characters, y’know!” or more poetically, “We all live in a dark comedy.” “Taxman”’s simple words held myriad double entendres.

 

McCartney, Robert Rodriguez points out in his remarkable book, Revolver: How The Beatles Re-Imagined Rock’n’Roll, supported George as well, offering to pick up his Rickenbacker (not his Hofner) and expertly perform the song’s lead break…even adding a bit of Indian flair, as a cutting edge homage to his friend. And Ringo manned the drums and cowbell with a vehemence this topic engendered in them all. The Beatles were sick to death of being taken advantage of by anyone and everyone. They were taxed, man.

 

At the LP’s very outset -– in “Taxman” –- The Beatles were boldly calling out their offenders: The Labour Party and its leaders, the Conservative Party and its top brass, the press and film makers, their booking agents and publishing company, their merchandisers and record label, their producer and engineers, their wives and girlfriends, their manager, their roadies and publicity agents…even us, their fans. The boys were sick to death of “one for [them] and nineteen for [everyone else].” Day in and day out, they gave 95 percent as they wrote, sang, performed, acted, overdubbed, answered, bowed, mimed, clowned, smiled on cue, apologized, backtracked, packed up and moved on again, set up and tore down, hurried up and waited…they did everything they were told to do by arrogant others who only did a meager five percent. And they were tired of it.

 

“Taxman” set the tone for the rest of the LP. It said, “We’ve had enough. More than enough. We are no longer your performing fleas. This time we have something to say. And it’s not just ‘yeah, yeah, yeah.’ Sit up and take notice! You have been served.”

 


1. This is Johnathan Gould’s description of “She Loves You” in his book, Can’t Buy Me Love.
2. Robert Rodriguez, Revolver: How The Beatles Re-Imagined Rock’n’Roll, 127.
3. Read Robert Rodriguez’s discussion of “Taxman” to find out why this “unmistakable evocation of television’s then-current Batman series” might be impossible! Very interesting!


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

 

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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The Fest for Beatles Fans Dialogue on Revolver, Part 1

It was the blistering and bewildering summer of ’66. The Westinghouse air conditioner humming in my bedroom window provided more noise than relief as Emily Moss, Emily Wofford, and Patty Dalme waited impatiently as I carefully removed Revolver from its strange black and white cardboard sleeve.

 

I placed it on the turntable. Moss ate sliced lemons, dipped liberally into a saucer of fine sugar -– a dentist’s daydream of potential cavities. Patty and Emily smacked their Double Bubble and lazily thumbed through the latest Datebook. And, gauging my audience, I adjusted the volume on my new Magnavox record player as the count-in to “Taxman” began. That was the blistering part.

 

The half-hour or so that followed was the bewildering part…as if the summer of 1966 weren’t upsetting enough to four conservative girls from North Louisiana: boys in paisley shirts! Moms in vinyl raincoats and Mary Quant caps! The endless Vietnam War protests…the violent race riots! Our idyllic, happy days, we thought, were all but gone. Life had become bizarre and complex.

 

As we listened to “For No One” and “She Said, She Said” and finally, “Tomorrow Never Knows,” Revolver seemed the strangest part of that odd, pogo stick summer. For a few uncomfortable moments, as the needle found the scratchy play-out grooves, we were afraid to say anything. It took all the courage I could muster to even look at my friends.

 

“Well…” I had recently taken up swearing as an emblem of adult independence, “what the hell has happened to The Beatles?
“Yeah, what was that?” Emily Wofford shook herself the way a cat does when you’ve been holding it closely and set it free.
“That reeeeeeked!” Patty always knew her mind and spoke it.

 

Woffie and I nodded and shook our heads, agreeing but completely disgusted. But there was one in every crowd, or so they said.

 

“Ah, I don’t know,” Emily Moss sprawled out full-length on the bedspread, the way my Mother had told us never to do, “I thought it was pretty damn cool!” That was Moss. Her brother, Donald, was in a real band. He wore fringed, knee-length, moccasin boots, had long hair and colored beads that draped the doorway to his bedroom. If we had a “cutting edge” in our junior high foursome, Moss was definitely the one.

 

“Pffft! Define cool if that’s cool!” Woffie demanded.
“Yeah, well, I hated it,” I cut across the cool issue. “John didn’t even sound like John! And he was hardly on the record anyway! What’s the use of the record if John’s not there?” It was, after all, the Capitol version.

 

And so the discussion went in many bedrooms and family rooms and cars and soda shops and A&W Root Beer Stands and striped-awning Water Ice shops and narrow-laned hamburger joints across America. Was Revolver the most innovative, ground-breaking, breath of fresh air LP that The Beatles had ever created? Or was it junk? Was it art or was it a piece of “The Emperor’s New Clothes?” Was it brilliance or pure nonsense?

 

Over the next few months, I hope you’ll join me as we discuss these things together and share insights into each song on the Revolver LP. Every two weeks, I’ll post established research about Revolver from Beatles music scholars such as Robert Rodriguez, Walter Everett, Bruce Spizer, Anthony Robustelli, Aaron Krerowicz, Tim Riley, and many others. I’ll also propose a few of my own new and original ideas about the tracks.

 

I hope you’ll join in and share your facts and opinions and help us create The Fest for Beatles Fans Blog Dialogue on Revolver. We need YOU (Yeah, you! You in the paisley shirt!) to supplement what I’ll be sharing with additional and interesting information in our Comments Section.

 

There are so many controversial theories about the meanings of these songs and about the ways in which they were created and performed. So at times, we may disagree. That’s wonderful as long as we all disagree politely. All respectful opinions will be posted for everyone to enjoy. We want you all to be a part of this collaborative project and to jump in with your thoughts and information. Let’s work together to examine Revolver 50 years later and to find out what we’ve learned since the Summer of 1966!

 

To kick it all off, tell us your story!!! Where were you when you heard Revolver for the first time? And what, pray tell, did you think about it?

 

Hey, wait a sec…let me grab a cold Fresca and unwrap my Moonpie. Okay, there we go! Now I’m ready. Do tell!

 


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

 

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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Say the Word

You’re probably not surprised to find out that my husband played in a band (mainly rhythm guitar, but he also plays bass and piano). And, he’s recorded his own CD of original songs called Preferred Risk. Over the last few days, I’ve heard one of his songs –- called “Words” –- playing in a loop in my head. The “hook” or catch phrase is this:

 

Words that are written down –
Meanings realized –
Words placed together
Change our lives.

 

What could be more true? Think of all the wonderful words that have altered the course of your life: “I do.” “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” or “It’s twins!” or “You won!” or “I have your back.” Or “You’ll be attending (your favorite school’s name here) this fall!” or “I love you.” These words lift us up for years to come.

 

John Lennon placed his heart’s longing and his life’s purpose in the hands of words. He said quite honestly, “Half of what I say in meaningless. But I say it just to reach you, Julia.” In that simple, honest line he offered up, unabashedly, his life’s mission statement. And throughout his years here, John did just that. He used words to try to reach the “girl in a million, my friend,” the lovely Julia Lennon.

 

Paul McCartney, likewise, tried endlessly to explain to Jane Asher through his lyrics that he needed her to relinquish her career and “be with him” if they were to be happy. In one song after another (increasingly argumentative), he pled his case via “What You’re Doing,” “I’m Looking Through You,” “We Can Work it Out,” “You Won’t See Me,” and even “Here, There, and Everywhere.” Paul kept saying in plaintive words: “I need you to give up what you’re doing and be there for me.” He phrased it in every version possible.

 

Why? Because Paul knew that words have great appeal, great power. American poet Carl Sandburg realized that when he wrote this simple but unforgettable poem, “Primer Lesson.”


Look out how you use proud words.
When you let proud words go, it is not easy to call them back.
They wear long boots, hard boots; they walk off proud; they can’t hear you calling–
Look out how you use proud words.

 

No one understood this simple or “primer” lesson better than John Lennon. When his long and complicated discussion with journalist Maureen Cleave ended up being dissected, lifted out of context, and placed on the cover of Datebook magazine, John discovered how quickly the things we say and write can get away from us…can stalk off to live sordid lives of their own without our being able to “call them back.” Over and over and over on the 1966 North American Tour, in press conference after press conference, John apologized for his words about The Beatles being “more popular than Jesus.” But it was to no avail. His words had taken on a life of their own.

 

I’m a news junkie, and last night as I was listening to a rehashing of the day’s events, I decided that about 80 percent of our news items center on things that people have said: words or phrases about someone else, to someone else, about another country, agency, political candidate, or alleged crime for which they are being investigated. We even have a term for this sort of thing; we call it “a sound byte.” Words dominate our politics as well as our private lives.

 

Because society is inexorably “tied at the hip” (or “tied at the hype,” as you choose) to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and every other social media “flava of the month,” words have become dangerous weapons hurled at others on the spur of the moment.

 

We Tweet without censure. We blast someone on Facebook. We “Like” or “Dislike” and leave nasty comments for one another at will. We use words to wound, accuse, blame, and tear down. Without any concrete evidence, we sling vile accusations that have zero basis in fact. And we think that is acceptable. It’s not.

 

John and Paul would have been the first to warn us all that words, once spoken (or written) cannot be retrieved. Indeed, Paul eloquently sang, “Her words (and kindness) linger on when she no longer needs you.”

 

Images fade. Over time, facts blur. But the words that someone speaks to us and about us linger on. We remember.

 

What does Paul McCartney remember about his Mother Mary? He remembers her words: “Let it be.”

 

What does John Lennon say will set you free? “The Word.”

 

What immediately ties you to George Harrison? A single word. “Something.”

 

And without Ringo’s words (for example, “Tomorrow Never Knows”) Beatles history would have been quite different.

 

In Liverpool, one of my favorite spots is the “bombed out church” now turned into a garden of reflection in the heart of the city. Here, the violence of war has been turned into a retreat of peace. The wreckage of a bomb’s tragic destruction is daily being transformed into beauty.

 

But the wreckage of words will not reverse itself as easily. Children are “crippled inside” for a lifetime by the words we say. Families are torn apart. Friendships are ended with no hope of reparation. Marriages are injured. Look out how you use words. They have a dark magic all their own. And, my friends, it is large and in charge.


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

 

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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When We’re Together

Until I met him at the 2014 Los Angeles Fest for Beatles Fans, Steve Marinucci was just a pleasant, suntanned face under a broad-rimmed beach hat. Until I met Ken Michaels at the 2016 New York Metro Fest, he was just a wide smile and beautiful eyes. I’d just seen a face…

 

And before the many Fests I’ve attended over the last few years, Pete Best was just a legend, not the humble man who scratches his neck when embarrassed, who downplays his importance and talent, and who never utters a mean word about anyone, ever. Chas Newby was just the lad who walked away from The Beatles, the gifted bass player with other dreams. He wasn’t the thoughtful, kind, dear friend he is now. And he never would have been, without the Fest.

 

And Freda Kelly? Well, Freda was just The Beatles Fan Club Secretary, not the strong, funny, gentle, honest, loving, and yet no-nonsense friend she’s become. All of these people have blossomed into Living Color and 3-D since I saw them standing there.

 

Through the Fest, I’ve met almost every one of the dear friends in my life. Come to think of it, I can count on one hand the friends I have who weren’t introduced to me via The Fest.  Wow. Maybe I’m amazed…

 

Tonight in church, I was thinking how much what we experience at the Fest is like a church service. No, no, hear me out…it really is! (Lennonesque disclaimer here: This is not to say the Fest is bigger or more popular than the church!!! Ahem!) But truly… we gather; we sing; we pass the peace; we tell the story; we share one another’s woes and joys; we pray for one another; we study and learn together; we know each other’s families; we help one another through good times and bad…and yes, (you knew it was coming) we get by with a little help from our friends. And although you can be a Beatles fan without going to a Fest (just as you can certainly practice your religion without entering a church or synagogue or mosque or whatever), you’re sincerely missing out on something wonderful and meaningful if you don’t attend.

 

For the last month (ever since I left New York), I’ve been mulling over the meaning of the Fest and trying to come up with the most apt and picturesque words to describe it to those of you who’ve never attended. But like Paul (McCartney, not “of Tarsus”) I stumble and fall short, so “I’ll say the only words I know, so you’ll understand.”

 

The closest I can come to giving you a glimpse into the way you feel after attending a Fest for Beatles Fans is this: “You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.” From the moment you open your car door in the hotel parking lot, you’re surrounded by people just like you. For three happy days you’re with people (of all ages) who share your collective memory, who understand. You are with those who know why you think and act as you do.

 

They may be teens or thirty-somethings or Baby Boomers, but they all – every one! – get it. They know why you say “Number Nine, Number Nine,why you snarl, “You’ve failed, haven’t y’jeweler?” or wink, “I am not what I seem.” They know what “God is a concept by which we measure our pain” means. And they know why you respectfully won’t wear red tonight. They’ve read the books you’ve read. They’ve memorized the songs you’ve memorized. They’d rather stay up all night and sing under the stairs than anything they can Imagine. They’re happy just to dance with you.  And at a moment’s notice, they’ll do the Cavern Stomp.

 

These are the friends you always wanted in junior high and high school…the perfect friends you couldn’t find. Some have blue hair, heavily glittered eye shadow, and 12-inch heels. Some wear sensible shoes and carry a cane. Some dress all-out Sgt. Pepper. Some tug on T-shirts and jeans. Some come for the speakers and miss everything to hear Pattie Boyd or Louise Harrison or Ken Townsend.

 

Others come for the bands and are breathless over Mark Hudson, Mark Rivera, Peter Noone, Gary Van Scyoc, and Billy J. Kramer. And still others come to introduce their children to the “act they’ve known for all these years,” so they beeline to Bob Abdou’s puppet show and his children’s parade…to Lanea Stagg’s popular class on making Savoy (chocolate) Truffles, and to the Friday night family dance featuring “Liverpool.” Our “clique” is completely and uniquely diverse…but we, in all the important ways, are exactly the same.

 

My husband works at a university, and several months ago, the President requested that his Administrative Cabinet submit their holiday schedules for the year. When he saw Rande’s list of events (six days for the New York Fest and six days for the Chicago Fest), he scribbled a quick note in the margin saying, “What? No vacation? ☹!” But Rande and I only smiled, knowing that by “Festing,” we are headed for the greatest holiday of them all. Roll up for the magical mystery tour!

 

For the last few minutes, I have been desperately trying to tell you about the Fest, but (as John Sebastian once observed) it’s “like tryin’ to tell a stranger about rock’n’roll.” It’s like trying to explain “hope” or “tangerine trees and marmalade skies” or the feeling of being “home, warm and dry.” It’s inexpressible.

 

But since I’ve been on a bit of a Paul spree in this blog (which is “very strange” in and of itself), let me close with Sir Macca (…and let that be an end to it, end to it!). Give this song a listen, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZc_qGLP0qY  and then perhaps you’ll understand. Perhaps you’ll quit saying “Someday.” Perhaps you’ll come to the Chicago Fest and meet the friends who’ve “been waiting a lonely lifetime” to meet you. Perhaps at last you’ll find us. Will I see you there?  “I Will.”


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

 

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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Magic Man: Geoff Emerick

“What kind of life am I living?”

 

That’s the question I’ve asked myself many times over the past 31 years as I’ve been extremely privileged to meet and interview many of John Lennon’s childhood friends, early band members, family members and Beatles associates in the process of writing The John Lennon Series. I’ve been so fortunate to get to know many people whom I never dreamed I’d even have the opportunity to meet!! And, let me hasten to say that that great good luck has never been taken for granted! Each day, I’m immensely grateful.

 

This past weekend, I was invited by the good folks at the GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi to meet Geoff Emerick and then hear him speak and answer questions about his stellar career. And having long been a student of his book, Here, There, and Everywhere and an admirer of his remarkable work with The Beatles as Engineer on Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road, I was elated. I knew I’d enjoy the time spent with Geoff, but truly…it was even better than I’d anticipated.

 

 

Dressed in a plaid shirt, beige chinos, and high-top olive Converse, Geoff was casual – kind and unassuming. When I introduced my husband and myself to him, he shook my hand and said, “Geoff Emerick.” (As if we wouldn’t know!) He was honest (saying “I don’t remember” or “I can’t recall” when he didn’t). He was funny and articulate. And, he was very generous with his time, giving the intimate audience of less than 50 people two full hours of his time and memories…and then spending a great deal of time off stage signing autographs, answering questions one-on-one, and taking photos.

 

It was an incredible evening, and I thought you might enjoy hearing a few of the wonderful quips and quotes that he imparted to those who gathered to share “An Evening with Geoff Emerick.”

 

On John Lennon:

 

“He was the most aggressive of the four Beatles, but when he sang his voice held the most emotion. Tender. I always guessed he was thinking about his childhood.”

 

On Ringo Starr:

 

“He drummed his heart out in the studio! When the evening ended, there were broken pieces of drum sticks all over the floor.”

 

On recording the final guitar solos for “The End”:

 

“Yoko went literally everywhere with John. I mean, she sat on the floor outside the bathroom when he went in. But when he entered the studio to play his solo on ‘The End,’ he put up both hands and stopped her. ‘Not this time, luv,’ he said. And when they played those solos, they were sixteen again.”

 

On Mal Evans:

 

“The boys used to get rather aggravated with Mal if he didn’t have the things they needed. So he kept a roadie bag of just about everything: bandages, biscuits, elastic, tea, sugar, guitar strings, fuses…”

 

On George Harrison’s Indian music:

 

“Paul and John shared a nod ’n’a wink when George was recording his ‘new sound.’ I could tell they were thinking, ‘It’s all very nice, but it isn’t The Beatles, is it?’ But they went along.”

 

On The Beatles after Rishikesh:

 

“After India, they came back different…people we hardly knew. Dressed differently, they acted differently. Niggling at me. They weren’t the same people, and it wasn’t a change for the better.”

 

On Click Tracks:

 

“The only time we used a click track was in making ‘Eleanor Rigby.’ There was one playing in George Martin’s headset as he conducted the octet. Otherwise, we didn’t use them. They made the music too… artificial.”

 

On his knack with music:

 

“When I was a little boy, I had a toy gramophone on which I played 78’s. After I heard a song, I could sit down at the piano and play back what exactly I had heard. I didn’t have to plunk around for the correct notes. I knew where the next one would be.”

 

On recording:

 

“I see it as painting a picture with tonalities.”

 

 

 

 

On mono vs. stereo recordings:

 

“The mono mixes were made with The Beatles there, giving their input. They were never around for the stereo mixes. That was George Martin’s interpretation of what they’d want…and my interpretation. So, the mono recordings are the definitive mix.”

 

On Revolver:

 

“The role of the engineer changed with ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’ No longer was I there just to capture sound. I was now creating sound.”

 

As you can see, it was a fantastic evening. Geoff would talk about a track, and then we’d play it and listen together. How exciting was that?!

 

Many of the aspects of being an author are less than glamorous: standing for eight to ten hours in a booth and stopping strangers with “Have you heard about the book?” just to get your work into the hands of readers is next-to-awful. But having the rare opportunity to chat with Geoff Emerick (or Bill Harry or Bob Wooler or Rod Murray) makes it all worth it.

 

When Geoff Emerick was invited by George Martin to become the Engineer on Revolver, he was fondly known to The Beatles as “Golden Ears.” And one can see why. However, after this past Saturday night, I’ll always think of him as “Magic Man.” His expertise, ground-breaking recording techniques and invention of new equipment (such as the Automatic Double Tracking device) astound me. But even more impressive is Geoff’s in-depth understanding of what The Beatles’ vision was for their music and his innate ability to give that vision life.

 

Geoff helped deliver the magic that became Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road. Winning Grammys for these three LPs was, of course, incredibly well-deserved. But he won much more, didn’t he? Our hearts.


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

 

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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2016 New York Metro Fest Recap!

Dear Beatles Family,

 

What a weekend we had at the Fest in New York!

 

John, Paul, George, and Ringo did it again…the unity and atmosphere over the weekend was truly remarkable to see, and we have YOU to thank for it.

 

At #FESTCHESTER, thousands of Beatlemaniacs came together at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York to celebrate all things Beatles, including the 50th Anniversary of Revolver. This is our collective recap…

 

If you get to the bottom of this email and these pics aren’t enough for your vicarious re-living of the New York Metro Fest, our first album on Facebook from the Fest’s Danny Abriano is already up HERE, as is Michelle Joni’s first album HERE. We’ll be adding more albums in the coming days, so be on the lookout! We’ll also be putting together a fans album, so be sure to tag your pics with #FESTCHESTER if you haven’t already.

 

Also head to and subscribe to our YouTube page, where videos from the New York Metro Fest have already gone up and many more are on the way!

 

The hotel started to fill with fans early in the week, and excitement built up as we set up the hotel. Lobby jams started, Beatles music started pumping both inside and outside the hotel, and fans explored the spacious and serene Hilton Westchester, preparing for the fab three days that were to come.

 


 

The FEST officially kicked off at 5 PM on Friday, April 15 as fans brought their Beatley swagger with them to more than a dozen ballrooms throughout the hotel. Along with our band, Liverpool, perfectly recreating Beatles tracks note for note, our guests included PETER ASHER, CHAD AND JEREMY, BILLY J. KRAMER, MIKE PENDER, MARK RIVERA, MARK HUDSON, and LOUISE HARRISON, most of whom joined emcee KEN DASHOW of Q104.3 (he called himself “hopalong Ken” over the weekend) on Friday night for a chat.

 

 

 

 

Friday night continued on with the 60s Dress Up contest and Dance Party –- where LIVERPOOL treated Festers to three rocking sets of Beatles tunes.

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

 

 

 

 

To go along with our incredible musical guests, the weekend also featured some amazing Sound Alike and Battle of the Beatles Bands competitors. Fab Forward won the Battle of the Bands, while last year’s winners, Yesterday and Today, snagged second place.

 

 

 

 

Our tradition of the ‘Beatles Gratitude Wall’ continued, and was where fans wrote and hung signs — both of the tongue in cheek and serious variety — showing their gratitude to the Beatles…

 

 

The FABoratory, one of our newest additions, where fans had the chance to turn into Beatles Magicians, Mad Fab Scientists, and teachers, was such a blast…

 

 

The live music of the weekend wasn’t limited to the nighttime concerts…

 

PETER ASHER joined forces with CHAD AND JEREMY for two special musical memoir concerts

 

 

 

MIKE PENDER of The Searchers and BILLY J. KRAMER united for a concert on Saturday afternoon, featuring Billy’s hot band including the legendary Liberty Devitto on Drums. Billy J. also world premiered his autobiography, Do You Want To Know A Secret at the FEST, and has signed a bunch of copies for us to sell to those of you who couldn’t be there.

 

 

 

 

JEFF SLATE’S BIRDS OF PARADOX, featuring members from John Lennon’s Elephant’s Memory band, rocked the house

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform “Slippin’ and Slidin'”

 

 

String quartet CELLOPHANE FLOWERS, featuring JEFF LUBIN, made their second Fest appearance, again wowing the crowd on two stages with their Beatles arrangements

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘Penny Lane’

 

 

THE WEEKLINGS, playing songs the Beatles wrote but never officially released, their Beatles-inspired originals, and other Beatles cuts, took the stage on Sunday

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘It Won’t Be Long’

 

 

And SCHOOL OF ROCK from Bedford, New York gave us a glimpse into the future with their performances on Sunday

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’

 

 

The Apple Jam Stage, which has become an integral part of the Fest experience, rocked all weekend with New York jam band THE MEETLES, Fest staple THE BOOTLEGS, SCOTT ERICKSON playing deeper Beatles cut, JANNA PELLE tickling the ivories, Beatles mixes with DJ SUN QUEEN & DJ MADONNA, MR. RAY’s children’s concert, 12-year-old guitarist/vocalist extraordinaire MOLLY JEANNE, JACQUI ARMBRUSTER (whose pipes and guitar playing are otherworldly), Criminal Trio BANDITS ON THE RUN, the incomparable MICHELLE JONI, CELLOPHANE FLOWERS (a teaser set before their main stage set), the uniquely talented OWL AND WOLF, BRUTE FORCE of King of Fuh fame, SCHOOL OF ROCK, enchanting trio TRIPLE G, and the supremely talented LENNON & KATIE of Youth Be Told.

 

HEAD HERE to see Jacqui Armbruster perform ‘Oh! Darling’

 

HEAD HERE to see Bandits On The Run perform ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’

 

HEAD HERE to see Triple G perform ‘Something’

 

 JACQUI ARMBRUSTER (with surprise drop-in MARK HUDSON)

SCOTT ERICKSON

THE MEETLES

DJ SUN QUEEN & DJ MADONNA

 BANDITS ON THE RUN

TRIPLE G

LENNON & KATIE OF YOUTH BE TOLD

 

All weekend, after the scheduled performances had concluded, the Apple Jam Stage opened up for the fans, who jammed into the wee hours of the morning.

 

MARK RIVERA —  who was otherwise occupied, as Billy Joel’s sax player — was only able to make it on Saturday, but put on a tremendous performance with Liverpool

 

 

JON COBERT, who recorded with John Lennon, performed with JEFF SLATE’S BIRDS OF PARADOX during their concert earlier on Saturday and joined in for the Musicians’ Forum

 

 

 

Meanwhile, jams were going strong all throughout the hotel all weekend long — sunrise to sundown and beyond…

 

 

As always, the Beatles art contest was a place where fans were treated to some truly great works by professionals, amateurs, and kids, all who took home prizes. In the Professional division, Eddie Colacci took first place for his 3D album covers, while Regina Gelfer’s ‘Celebrate the Beatles’ came in second. In the amateur division, Rachel Bremlist took first place for her Revolver mosaic, Nancy Lennon’s Yellow Submarine bathroom tower decoupage finished in second, and Gene Brady’s Help! silhouette finished third. For kids 16 and younger, Sophie Feldman took the top prize for her Paul at the piano pencil sketch. We thank Deco for continuing to do such a great job with the Art Museum.

 

 

 

At his 20th Fest, MR. PUPPET BOB ABDOU took to the main stage for a special performance and also led our fifth annual Beatles parade, which was Yellow Submarine-themed this year

 

 

The New York Metro Fest was also the weekend home to over a dozen Beatles authors and historians, including BRUCE SPIZER, VIVEK TIWARY, DAVID BEDFORD, JUDE SOUTHERLAND KESSLER, AL SUSSMAN, TOM FRANGIONE, CHUCK GUNDERSON, PIERS HEMMINGSEN, CANDY LEONARD, KIT O’TOOLE, JOHN KRUTH, MICHAEL STARR, ANTHONY ROBUSTELLI, KENNETH WOMACK, GREG STERLACE, AND JUDITH KRISTEN.

 

 

The Fest also featured the Marketplace and Vendor Room, where fans could get Every Little Beatles Thing they desired

 

 

 

Meanwhile, when Festers weren’t busy dancing, jamming in every nook of the hotel, and parading, they took in one of BOB ABDOU’s highly entertaining Beatles puppet shows, got memorabilia signed, watched a movie in the Beatles video room, sang Beatles karaoke, toured the photo, Beatles art, and memorabilia rooms (ROB SHANAHAN, NEAL GLASER, ERIC CASH), and more.

 

 

 

Many also took refuge in our Beatles Ashram, which featured yoga classes for adults and kids, and intro sessions to Cosmic Consciousness with the teachers of Transcendental Meditation.

 

 

Other highlights from the weekend were Live Beatles Trivia and Name That Tune hosted by Al Sussman and Tom Frangione, a fan winning a trip to Las Vegas to see The Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil, and the always spectacular Pig Light Show that accompanied Liverpool’s performances.

 

For our sixth Annual Las Vegas Beatles Love Getaway Sweepstakes, the winner, was not present, but Michelle Joni phoned her from the stage and she was home. We all heard her very excited reaction. Pictured below is last year’s winner, Carl Maltzman, who told the crowd what a great time he had.

 

 

Below, Michelle Joni and Tom Frangione show the Spirit Foundation grand prize that Yoko sent for the FEST. And the winner of the prize poses for a pic

 

 

As always, the Musicians’ Forum on Sunday was a treat, as were the Saturday and Sunday night concerts that saw LIVERPOOL play Revolver in its entirety and other Beatles cuts before the stage opened to MARK RIVERA, MIKE PENDER, BILLY J. KRAMER, and MARK HUDSON.

 

We also want to send out a huge THANK YOU to STEVE HOLLEY, who immediately jumped in upon hearing Chris had an accident over the winter and would not be fully ready to play the entire weekend. He did a fantastic job.

 

 

Drew, John, Glen, and Chris of Liverpool — with a little help from Steve Holley — were fantastic all weekend, kicking things off with the Dance Party on Friday night, playing Side 1 of Revolver and more on Saturday, and finishing things up in thrilling fashion on Sunday night by performing Side 2 of Revolver and even more Beatles cuts.

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘Love You To’

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’

 

 

 

 

MARK HUDSON then joined in and he and Liverpool tore through the jams — including an epic rendition of the Joe Cocker version of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends — before wrapping things up with ‘Hey Jude.’

 

HEAD HERE to see Mark Hudson & Liverpool perform ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’

 

 

 

After the New York Metro Fest officially came to a close, the jamming continued into the wee hours of Monday morning, with Fest founder Mark Lapidos leading everyone in a rendition of “Here Comes The Sun” before Festers playing until the sun came up and people started going about their Monday morning business. This is our continued official tradition — join us next year!

 

The fans brought the energy all weekend, with the traditions of Fests gone by seamlessly intertwining with the new events and activities that spiced up the weekend.

 

We are still gathering all of the pictures and videos from The Fest to share, and we want to see all of yours, too! As we did over the weekend, use the hashtag #FESTCHESTER to share pictures with us on Instagram and Twitter (@Beatles_Fest), and post pictures on our Facebook wall at Facebook.com/thefest.

 

In addition to the albums that are already up, lots more pictures of all the guests, events, activities, and fans will be shared in emails, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and via email (send them to danny@thefest.com) in the coming days and weeks!

 

We’d also like to thank the Hilton Westchester, who did a terrific job hosting the Fest, especially Maura. Most of all, we want to offer another thank you to all the guests and fans who came to celebrate all things Beatles for our 42nd year in New York!

 

We are already gearing up for the Chicago Fest, taking place August 12-14 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinios. Details will be released at TheFest.com in late-May, so keep an eye out!

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If Not For You

It was an icy Liverpool winter, 1957, and seventeen-year-old John Lennon sat on his narrow bed just above the Mendips glassed-in porch, strumming his guitar and singing quietly to himself, lest Aunt Mimi hear. He was dreaming…dreaming of Someday…dreaming of becoming “bigger ’n Elvis.” That lazy afternoon, he was dreaming of achieving what he always referred to as “the toppermost of the poppermost.”

 

But NEVER…never in his wildest dreams did he ever imagine that 60 years later there would be Beatles authors, artists, reporters, bloggers, publicists, DJ’s with weekly Beatles radio shows, Las Vegas musicals, Broadway shows, websites, television specials, and a Fest for Beatles Fans. He never dreamed he was about to create a Beatles World.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, John didn’t do it alone. He didn’t do it without the extraordinary genius of Paul McCartney, the talent and wry humor of George Harrison, and the grounded backbeat (both musically and spiritually) of Ringo Starr. And they didn’t do it without the ideas and concepts taught to him by Allan Williams (“Mach Shau, lads!”), Stu Sutcliffe (“Be an artiste, John, not just a rocker!”), Brian Epstein (“Dress appropriately; finish each song; don’t swear at the audience; stick to the playlist; bow after each number”.) and George Martin, whose creative magnificence helped to mold the music.

 

They didn’t do it without the input of so-called “Minor Players” (who were also giants in their own way): Neil Aspinall, Tony Barrow, Mal Evans, Beryl Adams, Pete Shotton, Bob Wooler, Tony Bramwell, Alistair Taylor…and oh yes, a slender lovely Irish girl who gave her time and talent to run the Beatles Fan Club, Freda Kelly. He didn’t do it without ghost writers, photographers, and reporters who told the story to you and me: Bill Harry, Ray Coleman, Hunter Davies, Maureen Cleave, Michael Braun, Larry Kane, Derek Taylor, Dezo Hoffman, Robert Freeman, or Ivor Davis.

 

Together an entire host of smart, determined, cutting-edge men and women worked shoulder-to-shoulder to create a phenomenon:

 

There were the EMI engineers and second engineers: Norman Smith, Geoff Emerick, Richard Langham…

 

The supporting actors in each film: Victor Spinetti (always there), Norm Rossington, Eleanor Bron, Leo McKern, Wilfred Brambell…

 

The style setters: Dougie Millings, Astrid Kirchherr, Horne Brothers…

 

The tour facilitators: Sid Bernstein, Norman Weiss, Tony Barrow, Bob Bonis…

 

The NEMS staff: Clive Epstein, Freda Kelly, Beryl Adams, Anne Collingham, Wendy Hanson, Tony Barrow, Alistair Taylor…

 

And those singularly important women: Julia Stanley Lennon, Louise Harrison, Mimi Smith, Elsie Greaves, Cynthia Powell Lennon, Maureen Starkey, Pattie Boyd Harrison, Jane Asher, Linda McCartney, Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison, and May Pang.

 

It took an entourage – a retinue – to make this dream come true.

 

Right now, you’re shouting out a name I didn’t mention – someone whose role in the chain of events you especially relate to. Maybe it’s Ken Townsend or Pete Best or Chris O’Dell or Billy Preston or Eric Clapton or…well, you know who it is. And the truth is, they’re all important. They all contributed a sliver to the stained glass mosaic that was beautifully necessary for the whole. Removing one scarlet slice or one cerulean circle would have changed the entire picture. Altered it forever.

 

 “But of all these friends and lovers

There is no one

Compares with you.”

 

That’s right…dead in the center of the complex pattern of triangles, crescents, swirls, and ovals rests the most necessary piece of all: YOU.

 

Without you, the records go un-purchased. Without you, the fanzines fail to sell. Without you, the Beatles T-shirts and sweatshirts and wigs and games and bubblegum cards and clocks sit dusty on their overstocked shelves. No tickets sell. No posters dot walls. Without you, Shea Stadium stands empty. Without you, the theaters never fill. Without you, the books remain closed; the films, unviewed; the artwork, ignored. In all the Beatles’ story, the single most necessary and important ingredient has always been you: the fans. You are the ones who propelled The Beatles to heights they could never have anticipated.

 

In case you haven’t noticed, we don’t host a “Fest for The Beatles.” Ours is a “Fest for Beatles FANS.” Because all along, we’ve realized it: this dream-come-true is all about you. On April 15-17 in Westchester, we will celebrate your crucial role in The Beatles’ success. We’ll smile and raise a glass to your unswerving belief in the lads, your lifelong support. We will fête you with songs, laughter, entertainment, dances – a bit of well-deserved frolic! Because 60 years ago, John Lennon sat in his bedroom and dreamed, and thanks to you, his quiet, whispered vision blossomed into an awesome reality.

 

April 15-17 is your time! It is a weekend set apart to celebrate you, the beloved Beatles Fans. A party is being given in your honor, and “a splendid time is guaranteed for all.” Come to the Fest! You are our special guest.


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

 

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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